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Fraudster Callely finding it 'hard to adjust' to life in jail


DISGRACED politician Ivor Callely's solicitor has revealed that being under 23-hour lock up has proved very difficult for his ultra-fit client.

Callely (56) is now just over a week into a five-month prison sentence for expenses fraud.

Dublin-based Noel O'Hanrahan said: "I would think basically that it's certainly not a very pleasant experience for him. I think he's finding it extremely difficult in the context of somebody who has been so extremely active cycling 40km a day and also involved in other physical activity.

Shock

"That must be a terrible and traumatic shock to the system being on 23-hour lock up and we are very hopeful that he would be transferred to the training unit," he added.

Mr O'Hanrahan told broadcaster Joe Duffy on RTE's Liveline that Mr Callely had left a legacy behind him in terms of his work for the elderly and the mentally handicapped.

"One swallow doesn't make a summer," he said. "The fact that he put in invoices that were wrong, even though he spent much more money in the same period, that was wrong and he pleaded guilty.

"He was clearly wrong. I am saying in the context of that wrongfulness, we have to look holistically at the overall situation where the amount that he actually spent on expenses over the same period greatly exceeded the amount that he put in in the false invoices."

He urged that there should be an inquiry set up into expenses of politicians past and present.

And speaking about the request that his client be moved to the training unit, he said that Mr Callely has "unique personal skills." In the training unit he would partake in work, Mr O'Hanrahan said.

Skills

He could bring "a lot of his skills to bear in helping other people under the supervision of the prison service and that's something we would be wishful and hopeful that the prison service could accommodate him on," Mr O'Hanrahan said.

He said that he was sure the prison service would be mindful "to do the very best that they could".

"There is also the possibility obviously of Shelton Abbey, which is an open prison as far as I understand," he said.

The former politician was jailed at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to four counts of using invoices believing them to be false instruments between November 2007 and December 2009, while he was a member of the Seanad.

The invoices were used to claim over €4,000 worth of expenses under a mobile phone reimbursement scheme.

fdillon@herald.ie


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